BMS

SP's MAI - - MILITARY -

[ By Lt Gen­eral (Retd) P.C. Ka­toch ]

With the is­sue of the ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est (EoI) for the BMS on Novem­ber 11, 2013, the Bat­tle Man­age­ment Sys­tem (BMS) has fi­nally taken another step. It may be noted that af­ter the BMS was cleared by the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil (DAC) as ‘make In­dia’ project two years back and fol­low­ing the or­der­ing of the In­te­grated Project Man­age­ment Team (IPMT) Study by the DG Ac­qui­si­tion of Min­istry of De­fence (MoD), it was es­ti­mated that the EoI will be is­sued by Oc­to­ber 2012. This year it­self the EoI had been pend­ing with the Depart­ment of De­fence Pro­duc­tion for sev­eral weeks and as per re­vised es­ti­mates was to be is­sued by Au­gust 2013. How­ever, the de­lib­er­a­tions have taken yet another few months.

The EoIs will be sent to the Bharat Elec­tron­ics Lim­ited, Elec­tron­ics Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia, Com­puter Main­te­nance Cor­po­ra­tion, ITI, do­mes­tic pri­vate-sec­tor ma­jor Tata Power SED, Rolta In­dia, Wipro, Larsen & Toubro, HCL, Punj Lloyd, Bharat Forge, Tata Con­sul­tancy, Info Sys­tems and Tech Mahin­dra. While only do­mes­tic de­fence com­pa­nies will be al­lowed to com­pete for BMS, th­ese com­pa­nies will forge ties with over­seas de­fence ma­jors to ac­quire ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies. It is now for the in­dus­try to take up the chal­lenge.

The BMS will pro­vide the In­dian Army an in­te­gra­tion tool sup­port­ing ev­ery level of mil­i­tary users rang­ing from in­di­vid­ual sol­dier to bat­tal­ion group/com­bat group com­man­der in the tac­ti­cal bat­tle area (TBA) dis­play­ing in near real time an ap­pro­pri­ate, com­mon and com­pre­hen­sive tac­ti­cal pic­ture by in­te­grat­ing in­puts from all el­e­ments of the bat­tle group. It will be pos­si­ble to pick up the enemy much be­fore he picks you up, see the tar­get and fire di­rect in quick time us­ing the best weaponry avail­able, as also mon­i­tor the af­ter ef­fects. As such, field­ing of the BMS will be an im­por­tant facet of ca­pa­bil­ity build­ing in the In­dian Army.

The mis­sion ca­pa­bil­i­ties be­ing looked at are: pro­vide a com­mand and con­trol sys­tem span­ning the TBA spread­ing across in­di­vid­u­als, de­tach­ments, com­bat plat­forms, sen­sors, sub-units, units to the bat­tal­ion com­man­der/reg­i­ment com­man­der; achieve faster re­ac­tion ca­pa­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity in com­mand and con­trol by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion au­to­mat­i­cally at the right place in the right time, thereby com­press­ing ob­serve, ori­ent, de­cide, and act (OODA) loop; pro­vide a strong foun­da­tion for mak­ing de­ci­sions based on near real time, con­sis­tent and well-struc­tured in­for­ma­tion, thereby en­hanc­ing the in­for­ma­tion han­dling ca­pa­bil­ity of com­man­ders at all lev­els; strengthen in­for­ma­tion ex­change by hav­ing a strong mes­sag­ing and repli­ca­tion mech­a­nism; im­prove and mod­ernise pre­sen­ta­tion of in­for­ma­tion in near real time, and; in­te­grate with other com­mand and con­trol sys­tem.

The BMS will com­prise a tac­ti­cal hand held com­puter with indi- vid­ual sol­diers and tac­ti­cal com­put­ers at Bat­tle Group Head­quar­ters and com­bat ve­hi­cles. The com­put­ers will be in­te­grated em­ploy­ing ap­pli­ca­tion and data­base servers con­nected on a data en­abled com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work. The sys­tem will en­able gen­er­a­tion of com­mon op­er­a­tional pic­ture by in­te­grat­ing in­puts from all rel­e­vant sources within a bat­tle group by in­te­grated use of ge­o­graphic in­for­ma­tion sys­tem (GIS) and global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS). the BMS will be a highly mo­bile sys­tem which is able to net­work it­self by in­te­gra­tion of com­po­nents and pro­vide a high data rate.

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions should not in­ter­fere with the legacy com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment and should eas­ily be retro­fit­ted into com­bat plat­form. The com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem should op­ti­mally utilise the band­width avail­able for mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­volv­ing voice and data in­clud­ing video stream­ing and im­ageries. It should be scal­able to en­sure its avail­abil­ity to all el­e­ments and range from be­ing man-por­ta­ble to be­ing fit­ted in com­bat ve­hi­cles. With is­sue of the EoI, it should now be pos­si­ble to short­list two De­vel­op­ing Agen­cies (DA) by af­ter 12 months or so; Novem­ber 2014. Sub­se­quently, de­sign phase could com­mence by March 2015, lim­ited pro­to­type tested in lab­o­ra­tory by De­cem­ber 2015 and fi­nally, pro­to­types de­vel­oped and fielded for user eval­u­a­tion by De­cem­ber 2016 (in­stead of ear­lier sched­ule of 2012). The cas­cad­ing ef­fect has al­ready de­layed com­ple­tion of Phase 2 (Equip­ping) from ini­tial plan of 2017 to 2021 and Phase 3 (Change Man­age­ment and Upgra­da­tion of Sys­tem) from 2022 to 2026 as per cur­rent sta­tus. This will sched­ule is pos­si­ble only if there are no more hur­dles.

The BMS is a fi­nance in­ten­sive project and ex­act fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tion can only be holis­ti­cally worked out at the end of Phase I. The ap­prox­i­mate cost of Phase I of the sys­tem was ear­lier es­ti­mated to be around ` 350 crore, which may now dou­ble up. Con­sid­er­ing the BMS will be fielded pan Army at the bat­tal­ion/reg­i­ment level, the over­all re­quire­ment will be colos­sal – likely to jump from the ini­tial es­ti­mates of a mod­est ` 23,000 crore to the re­gion of ` 80,000 crore or even more. More im­por­tantly, sim­i­lar sys­tem will even­tu­ally be re­quired other forces of the se­cu­rity sec­tor (para­mil­i­tary units, cen­tral armed po­lice units and spe­cial po­lice units) tasked for anti-ter­ror­ist and counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tions.

The pro­to­type should be a suit­able ap­pli­ca­tion on an in­tu­itive op­er­at­ing sys­tem with cus­tomised GIS suit­abil­ity. Voice and data com­mu­ni­ca­tions must be al­ways up. Com­puter hard­ware should be rugged and non-ob­tru­sive with retrofit­ment main­tain­ing plat­form in­tegrity. Sys­tem in­te­gra­tion should in­clude ap­pli­ca­tion soft­ware, data links with ra­dio sys­tems, in­te­gra­tion of bat­tal­ion/reg­i­ment level sen­sors BFSR, Ther­mal Im­agers, UAV/ MAV data, satel­lite im­agery etc. Con­sid­er­ing that al­most 90 per cent of re­quired tech­nol­ogy is al­ready avail­able in the mar­ket, em­pha­sis should be on cus­tomi­sa­tion to meet army re­quire­ments.

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